Joseph J. Cordes

Joseph J. Cordes

Joseph J. Cordes


Professor Cordes is a nationally-recognized scholar on the measurement of benefits and costs of government programs.  He has developed and taught a one semester course on benefit cost analysis and has directed several PhD dissertations and over 100 level graduate student projects involving the application of benefit cost analysis to wide range of public and nonprofit sector programs, including government regulations.  He has also received research grants from the Department of Homeland Security on measuring costs of homeland security regulations. He is a founding member of the board of directors of the Society for Benefit Cost Analysis. Professor Cordes earned a BA (Economics) from Stanford University, and a PhD (Economics) from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Measuring Costs and Benefits of Privacy Controls: Conceptual Issues and Empirical Estimates

January 30, 2019 | By: Joseph J. Cordes & Daniel R. Pérez

Co-director Joe Cordes and senior policy analyst Daniel Pérez's article published in The Journal of Law, Economics & Policy draws on the economics of privacy literature to summarize why the costs and benefits of privacy controls should be measured in principle, discusses previous attempts to do so, and generates useful estimates of consumers' valuation of privacy.

Consumer’s Guide to Regulatory Impact Analysis: Ten Tips for Being an Informed Policymaker

August 2, 2017 | By: S. Dudley, R. Belzer, G. Blomquist, T. Brennan, C. Carrigan, J. Cordes, L. Cox, A. Fraas, J. Graham, G. Gray, J. Hammitt, K. Krutilla, P. Linquiti, R. Lutter, B. Mannix, S. Shapiro, A. Smith, W. .Viscusi & R. Zerbe in the Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis

Regulatory impact analyses (RIAs) weigh the benefits of regulations against the burdens they impose and are invaluable tools for informing decision makers. We offer 10 tips for nonspecialist policymakers and interested stakeholders who will be reading RIAs as consumers.


OPM's Paid Parental Leave

September 9, 2020 | By: Joseph J. Cordes & Jerry Ellig

We write to express our concern about two elements of the Office of Personnel Management’s economic analysis of the rule. First, OPM’s discussion of benefits should be clarified and made more complete. Second, OPM classifies the value of salary and benefits associated with paid parental leave merely as a transfer from taxpayers. However, it is clear that the statute and the rule are intended to produce a real reallocation of resources toward child care and away from other activities. Therefore, an accurate assessment of the costs of the regulation should include these real resource costs, including the deadweight cost of taxation.

Benefit-Cost Analysis at the EPA

August 3, 2020 | By: Joseph J. Cordes

Professor Cordes comments on three issues raised in the proposed EPA rule: (1) the discussion of the estimation of regulatory costs and benefits by means of partial equilibrium vs. general equilibrium analysis; (2) the role and presentation of primary and secondary effects (e.g. co-benefits) in benefit cost analysis; and (3) whether and the extent to which the benefits and costs experienced by international stakeholders should be included in estimating the social benefits and the social costs of domestic regulations.

Agricultural Research and 2018 Farm Bill Implementation

July 31, 2019 | By: Joseph J. Cordes

On June 13, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released what it describes as a “Cost-Benefit Analysis” of the proposed relocation of NIFA and ERS from Washington DC to Kansas City. Based on its analysis the USDA concludes that relocation of these two agencies would save $19 million per year which could be reinvested in other USDA programs. This written testimony accesses the agency's benefit cost analysis under Circular A-94 standards.

EPA's Benefit-Cost Analysis in the Rulemaking Process

August 13, 2018 | By: Joseph J. Cordes

In this comment, Cordes discusses the value-added of using benefit-cost analysis in the regulatory process, the extent to which guidance is presently available on the application of benefit-cost analysis to regulatory analysis, the specific issue of which stakeholders should receive standing in benefit-cost analysis, and the inclusion of indirect effects, also referred to as co-benefits, in benefit-cost calculations.